Greater collaboration between the UK government and the private sector is needed to address the devastating threat of cyber warfare to critical infrastructure, says Eugene Kaspersky.
“Cyber weapons have the power to disable companies, cripple governments and bring nations to their knees,” the chief of security firm Kaspersky Lab told government and business representatives in London.
Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in sectors such as communications, finance, transportation and utilities could have catastrophic consequences, he said.
Key businesses and government are pivotal in the fight against serious cyber threats, said Kaspersky.
Kaspersky Lab currently analyses around 200,000 unique malware samples every day, compared to just 25 a day in 1994, 700 in 2006 and 7,000 in 2011.
Some of the most significant recent sophisticated cyber tools include Red October, Flame, MiniFlame, Gauss, Stuxnet, Duqu, Shamoon and Wiper.
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Kaspersky Lab believes a proactive approach is needed to tackle serious cyber threats, which must start with government and industry cooperation and incorporate universal standardisation and policies.
“Greater investment in education from both government and industry is needed to ensure a continuous flow of talent rising up through the ranks,” said Kaspersky.
He acknowledged the recent establishment of the UK’s Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) and the European Union’s plans for network information security bodies and response teams.
But he said these initiatives should not stop individual nations taking the lead with their own measures to raise their cyber resilience.
Kaspersky believes regulation needs to be undertaken at a global level and that the CISP and the European cyber agency ENISA need to cooperate.
“Sharing data and expertise can only be advantageous in the ongoing fight against cyber threats of increasing sophistication,” he said.
Kaspersky said the private sector, particularly IT and security related industries and also certain key critical industries for which IT security has long been at the top of the agenda, had a wealth of front line cyber-battle experience which could benefit government.
“This benefit should then dovetail back to the advantage of the private sector, through the added muscle of state bodies and the enhanced, overall visibility of cyber threats provided by the private-public partnership,” he said.
Kaspersky Lab and Interpol recently announced a partnership of technical cooperation in which the security firm will share cyber analytics and contribute experts to Interpol’s Global Complex for Innovation that is to be set up in Singapore.
Every business in the front line
Earlier this week, Kaspersky told attendees of Infosecurity Europe 2013 in London that every business is on the frontline of the fight against cyber threats.
“Every company is a victim of cyber attacks, whether they know it or not,” he said.
For this reason, Kaspersky said, companies should be doing everything they can do to keep their data safe and to avoid being a stepping stone for attackers to go after higher level organisations.
Enterprises have a critical role to play in stopping attackers from going up or down the supply chain, he said. Even consumers had a duty to protect their computers and digital worlds.